Climate change adaptation planning in practice: insights from the Caribbean

  • Adelle ThomasEmail author
  • Omagano Shooya
  • Martin Rokitzki
  • Maria Bertrand
  • Tabea Lissner
Original Article


Climate change adaptation planning has rapidly expanded to assist with reducing vulnerability to current and projected impacts of climate change. In Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS), planned adaptation is viewed as essential to address their high vulnerability to climate change, and planning has begun in earnest across the region. However, there has been limited analysis of adaptation planning documents in the region to assess their quality and content. This study assesses adaptation planning documents from Caribbean SIDS, focusing on inclusion of key stages of adaptation planning that were identified from international and regionally specific adaptation guidance instruments. Eighty-nine Caribbean adaptation planning documents—including policies, strategies, programs, and projects—were assessed, revealing that they differ considerably from guidance instruments. Key areas for improvement include the need for (i) more direct linkages between identification of adaptation options and assessments of climate hazards, impacts, vulnerability, and risk; (ii) identification and appraisal of a range of adaptation options; and (iii) increased inclusion and usage of quantitative information about hazards and impacts. Addressing these deficiencies may help to improve the status of adaptation planning in the region and ultimately aid in reducing the high vulnerability of these island nations to the impacts of climate change.


Adaptation planning Adaptation appraisal Small island developing states Caribbean 



We acknowledge the support of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in facilitating identification of adaptation planning documents in the region. Kind thanks are due to Carl-Friedrich Schleussner and Sharon Lindo for providing comments to improve the paper and to Emily Theokritoff for the assistance in revisions. We also thank the reviewers of the paper for their comments in contributing to an improved paper.

Funding information

We thank the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) for the funding that supported the research for this study.

Supplementary material

10113_2019_1540_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Climate AnalyticsBerlinGermany
  2. 2.University of the BahamasNassauBahamas

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